For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time spent with family and friends. For Marines from the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan, it’s a chance to pay tribute to their fallen brothers by completing a grueling course dubbed the Warrior Challenge.
Participants in the annual event, which honors 3d Reconnaissance Battalion Marines killed in action, started their day at 5:30 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving and navigated their way through multiple stations which put them to the test both mentally and physically.
One station focused on weapons disassembly/assembly, where Marines took apart and reassembled four complete weapons systems. At another station, Marines utilized their amphibious recon skills during a boat challenge involving six-man teams who rowed far out into the water and landed the boat back on the beach. A communications station required Marines to program a radio to the right frequency in order to make contact with the central hub.
The final, inspiring part of the Warrior Challenge sees Marines run across a finish line and touch a memorial with the names of the fallen.
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“Every time I think I’m tired, I just think about the Marine that we’re honoring and think of it as, we’re doing this for him,” said Sgt. Bolivar Guillen, a career planner for 3d Reconnaissance Battalion. “If he were out here, he’d be doing this for me.”
Check out the video below to see 3d Reconnaissance Battalion Marines talk about what the Warrior Challenge means to them.